Legislation would allow persons with drug convictions to participate in Work First New Jersey; expand access to job training to help families become self-sufficient
Legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) to expand access to job training programs for those with drug convictions to prevent recidivism has been approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
The state’s welfare reform program, WorkFirst NJ, emphasizes work as the first step toward building a new life and a brighter future. (WorkFirst NJ)
“For those who have been convicted of a drug crime, the road to recovery is long, treacherous and nearly impossible to traverse without help,” Senator Singer said. “Expanding access to job training and workforce education goes a long way to helping all families in need – not just some – become self-sufficient without having to rely on general assistance.”
Currently, individuals who have been convicted of an offense involving the use, possession, or distribution of a controlled dangerous substances are ineligible to receive general assistance benefits. Senator Singer’s bill, S-601 (Scs), ensures that those who have paid their debt to society are eligible for the same benefits as the general population.
Work First New Jersey, a welfare reform program, provides general assistance benefits, as well as access to job training, education and work activities, for a period of no more than five years. The program is designed to help individuals secure meaningful employment and get off welfare, easing the financial burden on the state.
“The exclusions and restrictions established under current law are simply unnecessary,” Senator Singer added. “Everyone should have equal access to the same opportunities for success. By expanding eligibility to Work First New Jersey, we can help countless families lead productive lives and finally break the cycle of repeated incarceration, poverty and crime.”
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